“What I Wish Someone Had Told Me” Pastors of Growing Churches Share on Vision

Reblog: Check out the original post HERE on Will Mancini’s website…

vision sign

Every year, Outreach Magazine provides a profile of the 100 Fastest-growing churches in the country. This year, they had a few interview spots entitled, “What I wish someone told me.”

What really struck me are the common threads on vision and alignment. Look for how these pastors discuss clarity and unique calling. The big themes are as follows:

  • Radical emphasis on mission and vision (including values and strategy)
  • Willingness to “let people go” who don’t align with the vision
  • Commitment to stop programs and cut ministry not aligned with the vision

Here are some of their own words which form the 2012 special issue…

John Beukema (@John Beukema), King Street Church (39th Fastest-growing)

Some people will never leave no matter what happens and some people will leave no matter what happens. Since that has been true, I wish I had been told how pitiful and unproductive it is to worry over who you retain and who you don’t. Just do the right things, be clear on your mission, and don’t get emotionally invested in who stays or goes.

Mark Connelly (@missionmark), Mission Community Church (8th Fastest-growing)

The bigger you get the better your Sunday morning experience is. That draws spectators. We constantly fight against that by boldly calling people to sacrificially live their faith, and don’t worry about the fallout. In a recent sermon, I called spectators parasites on the body of Christ. I am sure we lost some people as a result. And they’re probably parasites on some other church now.

Jonathon Howes (@Johnny Howes), Graystone Church (40th Fastest-growing)

One of things we have done to retain more people is to lower our requirement of membership. We still want every member to live out our values, but we realized that it’s a process, and we need to let them grow spiritually as the Holy Spirit moves in their lives and they learn from the Word of God. Some people will always be spectators, but our goal is challenging people to move from the crowd to the core. We have built into the Graystone culture: Everyone comes, everyone serves and everyone gives.

Benji Kelly (@BenjiKelley) Newhope Church (5th Fastest-growing)

I truly believe that the same vision that attacts some also repels others. In the larger scheme of things, I think we pastors would do well to become OK with people leaving our church. For the sake of those that God still wants to reach with love and forgiveness, we have unfortunately have to sometimes let believers exit out the back door!

John McKinzie, Hope Fellowship (48th Fastest-growing)

One thing I don’t know if I realized in my early years is that retention in the body of Christ is more important that retention in my church. If people are unhappy, I would rather help them find a church that “fits” them than have them stay unhappy and possibly quit going to church altogether.

Kerry Shook (@kerryshook), The Woodlands Church (9th Largest)

I had no idea how intentional I would have to be to stay true to my purpose and the vision God had put in my heart for what the church should be and do. It is so easy to please everyone and compromise your calling of the vision God has given you and how he desires to you and your ministry uniquely in His Kingdom to reach people for Christ…No one every told me that if you lead well people will still leave the church.

– Pastor Chris Jordan


About Chris Jordan

Husband. Father. Author. Pastor. High School Bible Teacher. Follower of Jesus. And I enjoy a good cup of coffee!
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